Age Range: Middle Grade
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Publication Date: 06 May 2008
Genre: Fantasy/ Middle Grade
As an incoming freshman, Percy isn't expecting his high school orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos's army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop them, Percy and his demigod friends will set out on a quest through the Labyrinth-a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn. Full of humor and heart-pounding action, this fourth book promises to be their most thrilling adventure yet.
Rick Riordan wrote the Percy Jackson series with a middle-grade audience in mind, and yet I feel the books can and are enjoyed by all ages. This is no easy feat, most middle-grade books are just that, middle grade, they are written for a specific audience, and are really only good for the specific age range it was written for or possibly as nostalgia for those who read it when they were young themselves. This series breaks free of that. It is so unbelievably well paced and well written, and the Battle of the Labyrinth is no exception.
I know I have said this about Rick Riordan's works before, but he writes some of the best mythology-based fiction. Riordan is able to make even the weirdest mythology work in his stories. There is something about the way that he weaves the story around the myths and without changing or altering the myth itself. He doesn't sugar coat the weird or creepy myths but instead uses the outlandishness to his advantage in telling the story. He never has to create mythology for the story, in fact, he seems to do the opposite, to me, it often seems like he tailors the story to fit the ancient Greek mythology, which as a history and mythology buff, that is something I really enjoy about his work.
It seemed to me that The Battle of the Labyrinth has a more heavy tone to it. While I still found this book to be funny and enjoyable, this book for me, was far more intense in its plot and pacing. It was easy to tell that the war had really kicked off and that danger was looming in Percy's future. I found it to be really plot-driven and since it is the fourth book in the series, it relied less on world-building and was a lot more action and character development, which I personally enjoyed.
The characters in this book are some of my all time favorites. They so unique, so quirky, and so well done. Percy is one of the funniest narrators that I have read hands down. He is strong, he is loyal, and most of all he is hilarious. The comparisons and descriptions he makes throughout the book never fail to make me laugh. Riordan writes his character in such a way that I can almost hear his sarcasm and voice inflections as I read the book. There are times when I forget just how young Percy is... until he makes a quick remark or describes something in such a comical way I remember, yup he's a 15-year-old boy. The level of sass that Percy has is unprecedented and I cannot get enough of it.
Riordan's supporting cast is just as well written as his main character. All of the characters are great, Annabeth, Tyson, Chiron, Grover, and Rachel Elizabeth Dare. That being said, Grover is and always will be my favorite character in the series. I love the more mature Grover that the reader gets to see as the series has progressed. Of course, there is still bits of the old scardy-cat Grover splashed in throughout the book for comic relief, but Grover really comes into his own throughout the series and that is really well displayed in this book. The one character I am really intrigued with is Rachel. I loved her character. I really enjoyed her character, but I am worried that she might become a throwaway character. She has such potential and could become such a great addition to novels.
My Thoughts on the Audiobook:
I went on a recent binge read of the all the audiobooks for the Percy Jackson series. I can't honestly say that I am really a fan of the narrator for this series. He does a good job with inflection and narrating Percy's thoughts, but I also had quite a few issues the narration. For me, many of the accents and voices are way overdone and the accents sounded forced and fake. More minor, but still a little annoying was that throughout the series the pronunciation of words changed from book to book, such as the way that Thalia's name is pronounced changes from book one to book two. This probably would not be an issue if you do not listen to the books back to back as I did. If given the choice, I would recommend reading the book rather than listening to the audiobook. I have done both, and I personally enjoyed my experience reading myself more than the audiobook.